Restaurants / Openings

Montrose’s New Cheese and Wine Haven is Already Drawing a Foodie Crowd — and Selling Out of Sandwiches

Small Shop Has a Dream Team Behind It

BY // 08.20.19

Mid-afternoon and the spanking new Montrose Cheese & Wine is bustling. It’s less than a week after opening and already visitors have turned late afternoon into a wine-infused happy hour while, earlier in the day, aficionados have found their way to the counter for scrumptious servings of Liteggio di Bufala, a raw water buffalo milk cheese from Italy along with a Spanish Alisios, and cheeses from Belgium, Austria, Portugal and Texas.

Goodnight Hospitality appears to have hit a home run with Montrose Cheese & Wine even before the second inning or rather its second week.

The shop, a cozy 800 square foot boîte, offers far more than its moniker would imply. There is a generous selection of charcuterie, cheeses (of course), pastries, and light bites to supplement the wine, and a number of wine accoutrements, not to mention the daily sandwich special.

Montrose Cheese & Wine offers a variety of meats, cheeses and accoutrements for dining/snacking with wine selections.
Montrose Cheese & Wine offers a variety of meats, cheeses and accoutrements for dining/snacking with wine selections. (Photo by Julie Soefer)

The handmade sandwiches, one of the many adjuncts to the cheese, are selling out by 1 pm, even with a $10 price tag. On this day, we sampled executive chef Felipe Riccio’s mouthwatering offering — a ciabatta roll cuddling a swath of creamy burrata topped with slices of pistachio-speckled mortadella and dressed in a slightly garlicky salsa verde. Worth every cent.

General manager and cheesemonger Shannon McCracken notes that the chef makes only 15 sandwiches a day. There is the possibility, however, that popularity will convince the Goodnight guys that in this case more is more. Today, she has squirreled one away for her lunch.

Food Talent Galore

The Montrose Cheese & Wine team includes wine director Ryan Cooper, who with master sommeliers June Rodil and David Keck, handpicked the selection of more than 150 labels that fill the wine racks. Each day, 10 wines are available by the glass. If you prefer to purchase and consume a bottle on the spot, that’s an option. No corkage fee.

Add pastry chef Shawn Gawle to the winning equation. His experience at three Michelin-starred restaurants guarantees delicious dessert offerings which on this day included pastéis de nata or Portuguese egg tarts (already particularly popular), a Basque almond tart known as pantxineta, muffins and a heavenly ricotta and semolina cake.

The MCW GM is a veteran of Dairymaids, who struck out on her own, went to culinary school and is today both a chef and experienced cheesemonger who oversees the regular selection of 12 to 15 different cheese offerings.

“Our main importer is actually Dairymaids,” she says, adding, “We work directly with Andrea Cudin with Lira Rossa Artisan Cheese, based in Moulton, near Victoria. We get his fresh burrata, mozzarella, ricotta and his aged cheeses.”

Magnol French Baking, under direction of chef Otto Sanchez, former executive pastry chef at La Table, provides bread for Montrose Cheese & Wine including seeded baguettes, demi-baguettes, boules and ciabatta, with those offerings possibly changing.

“So many talented people in one spot. It’s kind of crazy,” McKenzie laughs, adding that Magnol’s bread is some of the best she has ever had.

Customers are invited to select some wine and cheese and run or stay for awhile. While there is bar stool seating within, the adjacent snug patio, which can seat 28, is sure to be favored seating when the weather improves. Montrose Cheese & Wine has offerings of cheese plates, cheese and charcuterie plates, house-cured olives and the like for savoring while sipping wine or downing a cup of java from the full coffee bar.

The shop also offers a few food and retail items including Torres chips imported from Spain, highly-regarded Mancini pasta from Italy, both exclusive in Texas to the new shop; Zalto wine glasses; Riedel decanters; and local jams and honey. McKenzie adds that gift baskets and catering should be available in time for the holidays.

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